Muppets,French,Poles and Dogs
Avro Anson DJ106 on Ben Mcdui.

(Distance covered = 10.5 mile/Ascent =+973m)

Day 4 of a week long Hiking Holiday in the Cairngorms while Heather and her Mam were away at the 2013 Canadian Highland Dancing Championships , which strange as it may seem were held in Canada!. My target for this day was the highest crashsite in the country, an Avro Anson which crashed just below  the summit of the second highest  mountain in the country, Ben Mcdui.      

 Day one of my week was postponed due to very high winds, day two I visited two wrecksites on Braeriach and on day 3 I had penciled in a visit to an Anson on Ben Mcdui. As day 2 on Braeriach had been a bit of an epic long day, on day 3 I visited an easier to reach crashsite on An Lurg instead, thinking it would let my legs recover a bit before tackling the Mcdui.
So on day 4 I parked quite a way up the slopes of Cairngorm at the ski centre where there is a massive carpark. Lazy people can ride a funicular railway from here to near the summit of Cairngorm, Ben Mcdui can also be reached via Cairngorm but I took the path via Miadan Chreag an Leth-choin and along the cliff tops above Lairig Ghru.


The massive carpark at the ski centre is built on two terraces,Cairngorm can be seen in the distance.

The first part of the walk to Ben Mcdui involves a bit of a slog up onto a wide ridge called Miadan Chreag an Leth-choin and this proved to be the toughest part of the route, on the legs and the lungs.


Cairn Lochan on the left, Miadan Chreag an Leth-choin on the right .The path can be seen going up its flank

A strange incident occurred halfway up the ascent onto Miadan Chreag an Leth-choin, I heard an almighty commotion coming at me from left to right, as I turned to see what it was all about a grouse flew past me at a rate of knots just a couple of feet off the ground, in hot pursuit were a couple of Springer Spaniels going at what must have been their maximum speed, tongues hanging out and ears trailing behind in their slipstream. The lot of them disappeared down a depression, I remember thinking “I hope there’s not a cliff over there”. A couple of minutes later two men passed me shouting after their dogs. I was tempted to ask them if the sign at the start of the path requesting dog owners keep their dogs on a lead because of ground nesting birds wasn't quite big enough for them to notice.


Looking back past Cairn Lochan on the right to Cairngorm in the far left distance from
Miadan Chreag an Leth-choin.

The well trodden tourist path that leads to Ben Mcdui is well defined and offers some spectacular views for its entirety, particularly across the Lairig Ghru to Braeriach, Cairn toul and the Devils Point and back down the Lairig Ghru to Rothiemurcus.


Braeriach to the right and to the left Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine(Angel's Peak) cradling Lochan Uaine between them.
Absolute height wise,Cairn Toul and Sgor an Lochain Uaine are the 4th and 5th highest mountains in the UK and Cairngorm the 6th, Braeriach being the 3rd and Ben Mcdui the 2nd.

Ben Mcdui although popular is nowhere near as crowded as Ben Nevis and is a much nicer Mountain to climb, in my opinion. The crashsite of the Anson is just below the summit which means apart from the last 300 yards it is reached by following the tourist path.

Looking back down the Lairig Ghru to the ancient Caledonian Pine forest of Rothiemurcus.

As I had made a very early start, apart from the two Muppets and their delinquent dogs, I didn't pass any people on the way up,(or should I say no people passed me on the way up!), but later on the path was littered with people heading to the summit and back, not something I’m used to. There was that many people with Dogs I started to wonder if they were holding a dog show on the summit ,and it seemed like everyone I spoke to who didn't have a dog were French or Polish.

 
Apart from a couple of tricky boulder fields the path is easy going and well defined

The top of Ben Mcdui is a lunar landscape devoid of much vegetation, presumably scoured off by the very high winds that can be encountered up here. The lack of vegetation made it very easy going once I left the path to head down into the Allt a Choire Mdir to look for an engine that lies down there in the burn.


The top of Ben Mcdui would be a good place to train for a Moon landing.The lower engine is down there to the right of that snow.

I could see from Braeriach on day 2 that there were two large snowfields in the area where the engine lies, so I had my fingers crossed that it wasn't buried, but luckily the engine was lying between the two snowfields.

 
The Allt a Choire Mhdir dropped off steeply at the top of the large snowfield which was
visible from Braeriach
*.

There was some wreckage still covered in snow including an undercarriage leg,wheel and tyre but I visited the site again later in the year to get photographs of those while Heather was dancing in a competition nearby at Nethy Bridge .


Same shot two months apart.The long snowbank in the left photo was also visible
from Braeriach, the sliver of snow just above the large snowbank.*


The wheel and tyre have taken a battering from the snow and the water.


I think the Anson's engine that lies in the Allt a Coire Mdir must be a contender for the most dramatic and picturesque photo I have, rivaled by the photo of the Hudson engine on Ben lui**.

Above and below:-Cheetah Engine lying in the Allt a Choire Mdir.


I spent a long time searching the slopes where the Anson crashed and photographing parts as it was scattered over a large area from the impact point near the top of the slope right down into the Allt a Choire Mdhir burn.

These flowers have done well to survive up here.


Above and below:- That part again, only this time there's two of them, still attached to large lumps of the Anson's wooden wing structure.


This part that I keep referring to is where the undercarriage assembly attached to the wings, so it is a robust section which would explain why it has survived at so many Anson crashsites.It is also quite large and heavy so graverobbing souvenir hunting magpies would find it difficult to carry away.


This wood has survived on the top of a mountain for 70 years or so, wish my garden shed had been made from the same stuff!

While investigating the Anson crashsite I could see a steady stream of people on their way up or back down from the summit, several of them were stopping to ponder what I was doing, perhaps thinking I was walking back and forward hopelessly lost and disorientated.


Those two were watching me through their binoculars, I knew that because I was watching them through my binoculars to see what they were watching through their binoculars.
Note the Anson Wreckage scattered in the foreground


The second cheetah engine is lying near to the top of the wreckage trail and not far from the memorial.


above and below:-A second undercarriage assembly part lying next to the 2nd engine.

Right at the top of the wreckage trail is a memorial, again in a very dramatic location. Pieces of the Anson's wreckage has been collected around the base of the memorial.


The memorial cairn, the original wooden plaque although still in situ has been replaced by a metal one.


The view into the Lairig Ghru from just west of the Monument's location

After visiting the memorial I was only a short distance from the summit of the mountain. I don't usually bother visiting summits but as I had been to the top of Ben Nevis(highest) and now also Braeriach(3rd highest) I thought it was daft not to bag the 2nd highest.

The Summit of Ben Mcdui, Is it a selfie if you get someone else to take it for you?

The summit area was busy with people coming and going and although it was a pleasant sunny day with just a slight breeze everywhere else, up here on the very top of Ben Mcdui it was blowing a hooley so the leeward side of the summit cairn was very crowded with people eating their butties.


The Slope where the Anson crashed, the higher engine can just be made out as a black spot dead centre of the photo, wreckage is scattered right down the slope to the right of it behind the snow.

The walk back down to the carpark involved passing Wiele psów i beaucoup de gens francais et polonais. That's Polish for 'many dogs' and French for 'lots of French and Polish People'. Well according to google translate it is!


Teatime at a rather nice location near the Reindeer Centre in Glen More

Below: Taken from the shore of Loch Morlich the route I took to Ben Mcdui started at the ski centre, (visible between the treeline and the snowbank to the left of the photo), then across the photo from left to right and up the slightly lower peak second from right and around the Back of Cairn Lochan(3rd from right with snowbank). Ben Mcdui is off in the distance, hidden behind Cairn Lochan.



The Ducks, after posing for the photo, were disgusted I didnt have any bread for them!

*-Snowfields from Braerich.

**-Hudson Engine on Ben Lui.